Harvard Launching App to Help Students Find Inclusive Bathrooms

Transgender Bathrooms
February 19, 2021

Harvard University will soon launch an app designed to help transgender students find inclusive restrooms on campus. 

Harvard’s Gender Inclusive Restroom Mapping project aims to eliminate "restroom avoidance" and  "experiences of anxiety around restroom use." A team of collaborators that includes the school’s Title IX and BGLTQ Student Life offices has begun taking stock of the inclusive restrooms presently available at the university.

The group is working "in partnership with" the Office of the President and Provost, Harvard Medical School, and university faculty. Its online map will be launched this spring, the Harvard Crimson reported Friday. 

The Gender Inclusive Mapping project is "grounded by [the university’s] collective responsibility to promote inclusivity," team co-chair and Title IX coordinator Caysie C. Harvey told the Crimson. Harvey said the map will be updated as more sex-indiscriminate restrooms are added across campus. 

Harvard University and Harvard’s Office of BGLTQ Student Life did not respond to the Washington Free Beacon’s request for information regarding the percentage of transgender, "non-binary," and "gender nonconforming" students on campus. But a Crimson survey of Harvard freshmen found that just 0.4 percent of the school’s 1,700 first-year students—roughly 6.8 people—identify as transgender.

Students at Harvard can already opt into "Gender Inclusive" housing regardless of their sex or sexual orientation, according to the BGLTQ Student Life website. The accommodations are offered to "anyone who wants to live with people with whom they feel comfortable, regardless of their gender." Sex inclusivity "acknowledges and reaffirms gender diversity as an important aspect" of student life on campus, the website says.

Universities in recent years have begun opening traditionally single-sex spaces like dormitories and restrooms to all students regardless of their sex or sexual orientation. The University of California, Berkeley in 2017 announced it would spend $2.7 million in student fees to build a gender-inclusive locker room.    

President Joe Biden has signaled that his administration is likely to reinstate Obama-era directives that mandated K-12 and higher education institutions provide students sex-indiscriminate restroom access. The president signed an executive order on his first day in office to fight discrimination based on "gender identity and sexual orientation." The first section of the order states that "children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports." 

Published under: Harvard